In developing countries, traditional medicines occupy a central place among rural communities since they contribute to provide health care to them. However, studies on the identification and documentation of medicinal plant (MP) species used for treatment of various ailments, plants parts used, remedies, preparation and administration of herbal drugs have been scarce, especially to determine the consensus factor among local communities and evaluate the potential for new drugs of herbal origin. This paper aims to determine informant consensus factor and fidelity level of ethnomedicinal plants used in Misha Woreda, Southern Ethiopia. A total of 200 informants were selected randomly for the study. Data were collected through semi-structured interview, focus group discussions, observation and guided field walks with informants. The secondary source data were collected from previous annual reports, documented information and relevant literatures. Data were analyzed by using suitable statistical tools such as correlation coefficient, Mann-Whitney U test, informant consensus factor (ICF), Fidelity Level (FL), and various ranking methods. A total of 126MP species belonging to 110 genera and 50 families were recorded. Of the total identified species, 66 were used to treat 34 human ailment, 13 MPs to treat 28 livestock ailments, and 47 MP species were common for both human and livestock treatment. Leaves forming 41% and herbs making 52% of the total identified MPs were dominantly harvested plant parts and plant growth forms, respectively. The dominant mode of remedial preparation was crushing (44%), and most MPs (61%) were administered orally. The highest ICF values were recorded for oral & pharyngeal, and respiratory (0.95 each), depicting the agreement among informants knowledge on MPs used to treat these aliments categories. Medicinal plans species such as Datura stramonium, Prunus africana, and Ruta chalepensis had the highest fidelity level (100% each) indicating the concordance of knowledge on species of best healing potential. Preference ranking indicated that Allium sativum was ranked first and found most effective MP to cure Pneumonia. Therefore, the documented MPs can be used for future pharmacological research, and awareness creation among the traditional healers and community at large becomes vital so as to preserve the indigenous knowledge associated with MP species.
Key words: Ethnobotany, Indigenous knowledge, Medicinal plant, Misha, Informant consensus.
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